Reconciliation, Reform for Lasting Peace in Liberia: UNMIL Envoy Tells UN SC
The Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG), Ms. Karin Landgren says security measures alone will not create lasting peace in Liberia, rather constitutional reform and national reconciliation.
She addressed the Security Council Tuesday September 12, 2012 at UN Headquarters in New York, USA on the 24th Progress Report UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). Madam Landgren said though Liberia has made remarkable progress in institutional rebuilding, economic recovery and consolidating its democratic processes, the UN must continue its support to the country simultaneously with its drawdown.
“With Liberia on the verge of becoming a true success story, the UN Mission must walk a delicate balance: applauding successes and pulling back our support, while continuing to accompany Liberia in areas crucial to lasting peace,” SRSG Landgren said.
She added: “Reinforcement of the national security sector should go hand in hand with national reconciliation and structural changes to address the underlying causes of past conflict. Achieving this, however, will take both political commitment and financial resources.”
The UN envoy noted that the Liberian Government was firmly committed to taking on the security responsibilities now performed by the Mission.
Madam Landgren: “Stemming from a recent Joint Transition Workshop held by the Government and UNMIL, we have updated our joint planning structures, and are reviewing the linkages between these, donor coordination mechanisms and Liberia’s development frameworks for greater coherence. We have designed a graphic roadmap to help illustrate, phase by phase, the demands on the Liberian security sector, and to give the Government the necessary lead time to adjust its security posture.”
Ms. Landgren stressed the importance of strengthened security capacity and regulation to be matched with a stronger justice system for the public to have confidence in the State’s capacity to protect and provide justice.
Concerning border security, the SRSG noted that the Liberian Government has continued its efforts to mitigate security threats at its border with Côte d’Ivoire, including closely engaging with the Government of Côte d’Ivoire. She also noted that with continued reports of alleged training and recruitment of armed elements on Liberian soil, including reports that such activity has occurred in refugee camps within Liberia, a comprehensive national strategy to address the issue of mercenaries and foreign combatants was still needed.
SRSG Landgren also highlighted the strengthened UNMIL and UNOCI Inter-Mission Cooperation on border issues; saying that the two missions were committed to work with both Governments on a shared border strategy, including not only security measures but also longer-term elements of reconciliation, justice, and employment.
“UNMIL is able to begin a transition process today because of the progress Liberia has made since 2003,” said the SRSG in concluding her remarks, ‘Liberia is becoming a nation at peace with itself and with its past, a nation able to channel its vast economic potential into the better lives its people have waited for.”
Renewal of UNMIL’s mandate is set for discussion at the United Nations Security Council later this month.